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A Quantitative Study of the Characteristics of Transient and Non-Transient Students in Nevada Elementary Schools
AuthorParr, Andrew J.
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The purpose of this research was to determine whether transient or mobile students attain lower levels of academic achievement than non-transient students and to identify the characteristics distinguishing transient from non-transient students. The study analyzed the assessment results, student characteristics, and school factors for approximately 14,500 students from nearly 300 elementary schools across Nevada. In addition to conducting standard descriptive statistics and measures of central tendency, t-tests and multivariate regression analyses were conducted. To achieve a parsimonious solution to the regression analyses, the school-level reading mean was regressed on one dichotomous predictor and nine continuous predictor variable measures of school characteristics to create standardized composite school factors for use in other statistical analyses. Reading and mathematics assessment results served as criterions, while transiency status, participation in special programs (IEP, LEP, and FRL), and composite school factors served as predictors in the analyses. Parallel analyses were also conducted using the combined reading and mathematics achievement score as a criterion.The data analyses for this study revealed that, as a group, the mean scaled scores from CRT reading and mathematics assessments of the non-transient student group were significantly different from the mean scaled score for the transient student group. Regardless of the academic measure, the transient group scored lower than the non-transient group. The impact of student transiency on academic achievement was small in comparison to other student characteristics associated with being at-risk for academic failure, such as low socioeconomic status, having an IEP, or participating in LEP programs. Further, the impact of student transiency was reduced with the addition of student characteristics and was reduced even further with the addition of school factors to the regression model. The predictor variables explained a modest 18 to 25 percent of the variance found in the criterion measures of 3rd and 5th grade student achievement, regardless of the academic measure utilized. The statistical tests provided evidence that attending multiple schools during 1st through 5th grades had a negative impact on student academic achievement during this educational period.Student transience is not currently recognized as an at-risk subpopulation under NCLB, but transient students are more likely to fall into at least one of the other at-risk subpopulations that are recognized in NCLB legislation in comparison to non-transient students. Regardless of other at-risk factors or characteristics, transient students at some schools showed greater academic achievement than did transient or non-transient students at other schools. Attention to curriculum and school processes may prove to be important in serving the educational needs of transient or mobile students.